If you grew up in the '80s or '90s, there is no question you enjoyed a Saturday morning of your favorite cereal, some cartoons, and the classic beloved PBS television show, Reading Rainbow, hosted by actor and author, LeVar Burton. While his breakout role was in the hit TV miniseries, Roots, there is something special about LeVar’s hosting skills on Reading Rainbow.
As fans await an official host announcement, LeVar didn’t mince words about his desire to host the show permanently. So with LeVar being a possible new host, many are wanting to know more about the Grammy award winner, including his personal life and political views. We have the details below!
LeVar Burton originally went to seminary to be a priest.
"I had a calling. I felt like that’s how I was destined to spend my life, and so I took steps as early as I could in that direction, and my mom was very supportive," LeVar told The Atlantic. "I entered the Catholic seminary at the age of 13 in Northern California. I began my formal training as an initiate into the order of the Society of the Divine Savior. I was there for four years. During my time there it actually shifted its focus from being solely a seminary to also being a college-preparatory program."
After four years, he realized that being a priest was not for him. “I had a lot of questions that the Catholic saints and the dogma of the Church could not answer. So I decided that I needed to find some other focus for my life at the ripe old age of 17,” he explained.
LeVar Burton has been outspoken about his feelings about former President Donald Trump.
LeVar told Vice that when it comes to former President Donald Trump, he just doesn’t have time for someone who doesn’t read. LeVar — the poster child for the benefits of reading — didn’t mince words about the detrimental comments Donald Trump has made about not being interested in reading books.
“I ain’t got time for anyone like that anymore. I ain’t got time for the Kaynes or the Trumps who don’t read as it shows. Go somewhere else with that nonsense and take that bulls--t someplace else. For as long as people like that will continue to publicly profess this idea to a generation of people, I’ll be standing here for literature until my very last breath,” he said.
LeVar has gotten into scraps with both conservative and liberal political commentators.
As far as where LeVar’s political views stand, it seems that he tries to stand up for what’s right and moral. He will stand up to those who he believes are doing wrong, regardless of their political views.
In April 2021, LeVar appeared on The View and explained the importance of cancel culture to conservative host, Meghan McCain. Meghan began the conversation by asking LeVar about his thoughts on the controversy surrounding Dr. Seuss, including the decision Dr. Seuss Enterprises made to stop publishing six children’s books because of racist and insensitive imagery.
He responded to her question by first explaining that he actually provided the voiceover for the Seuss Foundation in a video to remind people that "Dr. Seuss is more than simply a company that’s decided to put a couple of books on the shelf, to take them out of rotation."
He added, "That man, Theodore Geisel, is responsible for generations of wholesome, healthy, wonderful, imaginative, creative content for children of all ages. So, I think we need to put things in perspective."
LeVar continued, "In terms of cancel culture, I think it's misnamed. That's a misnomer. I think we have a consequence culture, and that consequences are finally encompassing everybody in the society, whereas they haven't been — ever — in this country."
Conservative commentators are not the only ones with whom LeVar has gone toe to toe. On Election Day in 2020, outspoken democratic commentator Keith Olbermann complained about Donald Trump’s morning-of-call-in to Fox News. Keith tweeted in a now-deleted message, “Yes, Donald Trump has always been, will always be, and on the day of his bid for re-election, still is: a whiny little Kunta Kinte.”
After he quickly received a lot of backlash for the strange and racist tweet, he delivered a tone-deaf apology. “Just logged back in: I apologize for my previous subtweet of this. I was using an old '70s-'80s technique for calling somebody a c--t without writing/saying c--t,” he wrote.
LeVar Burton, who played the role of Kunta Kinte in the Roots series, explained that he wasn’t even pronouncing the character’s name correctly. “Dear @KeithOlbermann, #Kunta is pronounced with a long 'u' as in unity, not a short 'u' as in cup. Try again!”